JPS Undergeround Champs Rd 1 - McNeil takes 3rd
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
JPS 2011 Australian Underground FMX Championships, Round 1, via freeridermx.com.au
All photo credits: Magick Photo
Round 1 of the Australian Underground FMX Championships presented by RFDmx, sponsored by JPS, kicked off over the weekend at Zac MacKenzies compound in Gympie, Queensland. With many fresh faces competing for the win on a course that far exceeded the expectations of most riders, it ended up being a case of experience winning over young ambition in the close fought final that saw three Flippers round out the podium.
20 riders rolled up to the venue with jaws dropped and eyes wide open when they first saw the course that included 9 hits in total – 2x75-foot and 2x85-foot ramp to dirt, 1x50-foot ramp to dirt, a super kicker step-up to dirt, 1x75-foot dirt to dirt, and 2 small dirt table tops all prepped as good as any course seen in Australia to date, if not better! To start the series off with the course standard set so high the JPS crew are definitely throwing down the challenge for the round promoters to follow!
Practice got underway early on what was a cold Saturday morning and it was local lad Cam Hermansen who unfortunately was taken out of competition early after testing one of the kickers and landing short due to wheel spin from the damp conditions set by overnight dew. Cam went down hard on the lander and tweaked his shoulder, which forced him to watch from the sidelines and ponder what could have been. Later on talented Sydney rider Pat Bowden was lucky to escape injury when landing awkward trying a SuperFlip. It didn't slow him down heading into his first qualifier though when he made a similar mistake on a Indy Flip towards the end of his run, a mistake that piled the pressure on for him to make amends in the second qualifier, which he was lucky to just scrape through to make the semi-final after obviously being rattled from his crash. Another newcomer to the series, Brodie Çarmichael, learned a valuable lesson about the importance of warming up his KTM250SX before a run when his bike bogged off his first jump causing him to land short and sending him crashing hard into the bottom of the dirt lander. A trip to the hospital put him out for the day. Adam Grope was the only other rider to dust himself in qualifying, which wrecked his chances of making the semi as most riders stepped up in their second qualifier and bumped him from seventh where he was sitting.
After both qualifying rounds were over the eight going through to the semis were Rhys "Razzy" Hillier, Luke McNeil, Joe Sheppard, Matt Smith, Luke Saunders, Pete Anderson, Joel Brown, and Pat Bowden.
Luke "Revy" Saunders, who was feeling a little under the weather, pulled out the stops in the semi throwing down a big Holy Grab to RockSolid landing one handed, big Ruler, KOD Indy, and Flatliner to name a few, to be the only non-flipper to advance through to the final four. Pat Bowden regathered his composure from his qualifying mishap and threw down a Whip Flip, Super Flip, was the first to Flip the super kicker step-up, and ended his run with a massive Turndown Whip to secure his spot in the final. Luke McNeil also stepped up with some big Flip combos, and showed good speed linking the course together, but missed out on being the number one point scorer in the semi due to not nailing his execution. Razzy, who top scored in both rounds of qualifying, once again proved strongest in the semi thanks to his experience and putting together solid clean runs with every trick executed well. Against the newcomers he knew what it took to give him the points in all categories, which set him up to be the final rider out on the track in the finals, giving him the advantage of seeing what his competitors threw down first.
Revy, first one out in the final, continued his good form throwing down a similar run to his semi, but didn't have enough oomph in his bag of tricks to make ground on the young chargers Pat Bowden and Luke McNeil. Bowden, one of the most talented riders we've seen come along in a while, showed he deserved to be amongst the top four by throwing in a Nac Flip and Jackhammer into his run, and then blowing everyone away by Flipping the 75-foot dirt double on his last jump, the only rider to do so all day! It was a step-up from his previous runs and next out, McNeil, had to come up with a perfect run to make a shot at the number one spot. He went out like a man on a mission and managed to sneak in a few more jumps than Bowden including a big Flatliner, Nac Flip, Cordova Flip, Super Flip, Lazyboy Flip, all big Flip tricks but lacking a little in the execution department, which is to be expected in the early days of learning such tricks. McNeil also Flipped the step-up, but it wasn't enough as Razzy came out strong busting out a perfect Ruler, Jackhammer landing one handed, Whip Flip, Nac Flip, Rock Solid with great extension, and finished off with a huge Turndown to just pip his young rivals for the number one podium spot, followed by Bowden who only pipped McNeil by a whisker, who rounded out the podium!
Overall you couldn't ask for a better way to start the 2011 Australian Underground FMX Championships. The RFDmx crew excelled themselves in pulling the whole deal together, as did the venue host – Zac MacKenzie's Dad Stu, and the support from round sponsor Jamie Staff – JPS, was inspirational to say the least. When you come away from an event like this you can't help but feel the future of FMX in Oz is in very good hands, bring on round 2!
Results Round 1 JPS 2011 Australian Underground FMX Championships
1st Rhys Hillier - 25
2nd Pat Bowden - 22
3rd Luke McNeil - 20
4th Luke Saunders - 18
5th Matt Smith - 16
6th Joel Brown - 15
7th Joe Sheppard - 14
8th Pete Anderson - 13
9th Adam Grope - 12
10th Aaron Gunthrie - 11
11th Dean Matherson - 10
12th Sam Balnaves - 9
13th Dan Obrien - 8
14th Jamie Obrien - 7
15th Brent Logan - 6
16th Gyles Stainton - 5
17th Brodie Markham - 4
18th Ben Heindrich - 3
19th Brodie Carmichael -2
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